Mission Sub-1: 1-inch Groups at 100 Yards

Mission Crossbows today unveiled its innovative new SUB-1, a shooting platform the company created to set a new standard in long-range crossbow accuracy.

The product of more than two years of development that spawned an impressive 26 patents and patents pending, the SUB-1 is named for its proven ability to shoot sub-1-inch groups at 100 yards.

Mission Crossbows SUB-1

I attended a recent SUB-1 preview event at Mission headquarters in Wisconsin and did some long-range shooting with the crossbow.

Despite a 15-mph crosswind, I had no trouble repeatedly hitting the vital area on a life-sized elk target at 100 yards. In fact, shooter after shooter effortlessly pounded the kill zone.

The SUB-1's accuracy is certainly impressive, and I'm looking forward to further evaluating the SUB-1's 100-yard group size claim on a perfectly calm day.

mission crossbows synch x

Matt McPherson, founder and chief executive of Mathews/Mission and a legend of bow design, said the SUB-1 is able to achieve "insane accuracy" thanks to a number of unique features incorporated into its groundbreaking design. Let's look at the highlights.

Cams: At the heart of the SUB-1's accuracy is the patented SYNC X high-letfoff cam system —  a first in crossbow design. "We always try to do things radically," McPherson said, but "the reason we do things differently at times is because we see an advantage. We feel like we are the Maserati or Porsche of crossbows right now, and we think you'll know what we're talking about when you pick it up."

mission crossbows matt mcpherson

Built on Mathews' popular NO CAM technology, the SYNC X features a reverse-draw (string comes off the front of the cams rather than the back) configuration that allows for a 13 ¾-inch power stroke while keeping overall crossbow length to 30 ½ inches.

The SYNC X produces an advertised speed of 350 fps with a 400-grain bolt and features synchronized dual cams for perfectly straight nock travel.

The purpose of the SYNC X's letoff is twofold. First, the letoff creates a gradual increase in string speed upon firing, or a process Mission calls "Controlled Acceleration."

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Using side-by-side slow-motion video with a competitor's crossbow for comparison, Mission demonstrated how Controlled Acceleration results in a cleaner, smoother, straighter string release compared to a design with no letoff, where the sudden application of maximum draw force results in significant string oscillation that diminishes accuracy.

Second, the letoff in the cam system makes the SUB-1 significantly easier to cock using a rope cocking aid, because pulling the string back becomes much easier as it nears full draw.

Limbs/Pockets/Riser: In addition to a familiar cam design, Mathews fans will notice short, wide limbs and limb pockets on the SUB-1, much like those found on the company's top target and hunting bows.

Mission says the 200-pound draw weight limbs are extremely rigid to eliminate accuracy-robbing twist, while the limb pockets feature a very tight fit for maximum precision.

Limbs and pockets are attached to the bow with a compact aluminum riser that has an integrated footrest to keep overall crossbow length to a minimum. The SUB-1 measures 14 inches wide between the axles at rest and a highly maneuverable 10.8 inches wide when cocked.

Rail/Stock: The bow at the front of the unit is connected to the trigger mechanism and stock in the rear by a patented, CNC-machined aluminum rail that is slightly concave, meaning the surface of the rail sits higher at the front and rear than it does in the center.

This isolates bolt/rail contact to the front and back of the rail, dramatically reducing friction and string wear, while also allowing the bolt to be guided through the launch by the string itself rather than the rail.

mission crossbows shooter

Below the rail is a machined aluminum stock with AR-style pistol grip behind the trigger housing. In addition to the included pistol grip, the frame is compatible with any standard AR-style aftermarket grip, allowing SUB-1 shooters to create the same grip setup found on their favorite firearm.

In front of the trigger housing is a contoured foregrip with wide safety wings that effectively keep the shooter's hand safely below the string's path.

Trigger: Speaking of the trigger, Mission's patented Benchmark Fire Control Trigger features a frictionless, two-stage, ball bearing roller sear that allows shooters to slowly take up travel until a solid back wall is reached, followed by a crisp break into the shot.

If you decide not to shoot, simply relax the trigger to return to the zero position. Mission advertises trigger pull at 3.4 pounds. The trigger also offers an ambidextrous auto-engaging safety and anti-dry fire mechanism.

One of the coolest things about the trigger is a patented de-cocking feature that allows users to let the crossbow down simply by attaching the cocking rope, pressing a button, pulling up on the rope and slowly relaxing the string. I tried it numerous times, and it is the best de-cocking feature I've seen to date on a compound crossbow.

Arrows: Mission's recommended bolts for the SUB-1 are made using 20-inch Victory carbon shafts with a +/-.001-inch straightness.

They are finished with 3-inch shield cut vanes in a 1-degree helical orientation, Mission aluminum half-moon nocks and 100-grain fieldpoints. Finished bolts weigh 420 grains and have a 16.4 percent F.O.C. (front of center) balance point for maximum accuracy.

mission crossbows shafts

Meanwhile, the SUB-1 features a patent-pending Easy Load Arrow Retention Arm that makes loading bolts simple and holds them securely once in place.

Other highlights: The SUB-1's scope rail is machined from super stiff 7075 aluminum that Mission says has great "memory," meaning your scope holds its zero even when the scope is bumped in transit or you accidentally drop your crossbow while crossing a fence or ducking through some tight cover.

The SUB-1's length of pull and comb height can be adjusted to fit each shooter. The butt stock offers multiple mounting positions, while the ambidextrous cheek piece features more than an inch of adjustability for perfect alignment between your eye and the scope.

Mission advertises the bare weight of the SUB-1 at 7.5 pounds, and I measured the weight of the crossbow at 9.2 pounds with all accessories and a full quiver installed. Finish options include all black or black with Under Armour Ridge Reaper Forest camo limbs.

Price: The SUB-1 is available for $1,499 for the crossbow only, or $1,699 as a kit that also includes: an illuminated Hawke multi-reticle scope with aiming points for ranges from 20-100 yards, in 10-yard increments; Mission Crossbows soft-sided case with accessory pockets; three Mission Crossbows bolts; quiver; and cocking rope. For an additional $200, customers can also add Mission's RSD silent crank-cocking device.

Contact: Mission Crossbows, 608-269-2728

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